AMD's FX-9000-series processors were supposed to be limited to pre-built machines. The 220W monsters are basically factory overclocked Vishera CPUs. They have special cooling and motherboard requirements, so there's a certain wisdom to selling them only in complete systems. We had a feeling that stand-alone chips would make their way into the retail channel, though, and that's exactly what's happened. The FX-9370 and FX-9590 are both selling at numerous outlets, including Newegg, Amazon, NCIX, and Provantage. Google's shopping search engine lists 20 vendors for the FX-9590 alone, and most of those e-tailers have the chip in stock.
So much for integrator exclusivity.
Newegg has priced the FX-9590 at $880, while the FX-9370 is selling for $350. Those prices are pretty similar to what I'm seeing from other vendors; the FX-9590 runs about $870-1000 online, and the FX-9370 can be found for $325-380. There is one overseas exception, though. UK site Aria PC has slashed the FX-9590 by more than half, dropping its price from £700 to £300 (about $470 with a direct exchange-rate conversion). For reference, Aria PC sells the Core i7-4770K for £264.
Aria's pricing is certainly saner than what others are charging, but it seems to be an anomaly. Xbit Labs spotted the listing but wasn't able to find comparable ones. I'm not having any luck, either. The online reports claiming that the Aria discount represents an official AMD price cut appear to be incorrect. Heck, AMD hasn't even admitted that the FX-9000-series chips are selling directly to consumers.
If you want a sense of how the chip performs, you can always check our FX-8350 review, in which we overclocked the same silicon to 4.8GHz. That chip's performance wasn't all that impressive; it was beaten handily by not only a Core i7-3770K overclocked to 4.9GHz, but also a Core i7-3960K running at stock speed.
Update: AMD has issued an official statement on the availability of its FX-9000-series processors.
AMD channel partners are able to deliver the AMD FX-9000-series processor, AMD’s fastest and most powerful desktop processor, in highly customized systems and solutions in a manner that provides AMD fans access to the technology. We are excited to see high levels of interest in our AMD FX 9000-series processors, and will continue to work with our valued channel partners to ensure our products are readily available to the enthusiast community.
Interestingly, the statement doesn't mention the sale of stand-alone CPUs explicitly. James Prior, AMD's Manager for CPU product reviews, says the 9000-series CPUs should be available "primarily" in complete systems and component bundles.
We've twice requested an FX-9590 review sample from AMD, and each time we've been denied. Prior says AMD isn't sampling the chips individually. Instead, its "marketing focus is on the boutique experience and the outlets that best cover those products." You'd think a company that boasted about having the "first-ever 5GHz processor" would be more willing to have the chip tested against competing CPUs.